Herding Cats: Lists Make it Possible

And Workflowy makes lists possible, easy and fun.

It is no secret that I am always on the lookout for any tool that helps me retain, structure, retrieve and otherwise corral the chunks and nuggets of daily flotsam that pass within the weak gravitational pull of attention and memory.

Within those nuggets may reside the secret to life, the universe and everything! Or they might just remind me that I’m out of beer or mayonnaise, or about a honey-do I didn’t.

I have pretty much always, since grammar school grammar lessons, organized using outlines. I’ve blogged before about Evernote, OneNote, OmniOutliner, and others. (Evernote is not an outliner as such, but great for storing other kinds of information–including outlines–once they have been constructed with other tools designed for the job.)

Workflowy is designed for the job.

Of all the tools I’ve used, it works because it doesn’t slow me down and works as fast as I think; doesn’t impose a structure that is not mine and therefore is awkward to use; let’s me focus on one thought or task at a time (“hoists” selected outline level to the front); allows tagging to group related items easily; and is free and accessible from all my devices. [Above, a screenshot of my outline, partially expanded. Larger View.]

If any of these attributes seem like they might help you be a better information manager, give Workflowy a try, and please use this link. If you do, I will be granted a bit more space into which to dump what little I know before it disappears to that limbo where missing socks go.

Read this much more thorough Workflowy review from Slate to help you decide. Then sign up for a free account.

NOTE: I have created a “FLUID” app for Workflowy as you see in the image, to move it out of the browser and into its own app space (and its own button on the Logitech MX Revolution mouse.) But that is just a little extra geekiness not necessary to get full use out of this outliner, just shaving a few synaptic firings and keystrokes off the limited lifetime supply here.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Thanks, anonymous signer-upper, I hope, if by some strange twist of logic and preference, you do NOT find Workflowy useful, at least you were able to afford the signup fees. (FREE!) My expectation is that this app will become even more useful as it is under active development. I hope its “freemium” model and funding sources keep it under active improvement for the long haul. Evernote certainly is.

  2. Many thanks Gary! I feel less cramped now. But will have to reboot the cerebrum and figger out what to put inside this outboard brain. : > }